Exercise to feel good

Exercise to lose weight and feel good

Exercise helps to control weight and to feel good!

Exercise to Lose Weight and Feel Good

Does exercise to lose weight work?  There is confusion over ways to lose weight, with different well-known doctors coming up with radically different solutions. Equally credible reports and studies lay the blame squarely on overeating and drinking – and others on changes in exercise habits. Most of these studies seem perfectly reasonable, so it seems likely that the overweight and obesity problem a large part of the world faces can be attributed to both these factors.

People in a many countries are now much more prosperous than in the past. Consequently, they have more spare cash for consuming useless calories, in foods and drinks often laden with sugar. Also, the amount of routine exercise has decreased. Movement involved in small things. Mowing the lawn, washing the dishes, sweeping the carpets. Fewer people have jobs involving any physical work. Small trips, to the shops, say, are often made by car. Even when the distance involved is only half a mile or so.

(Other causes for overweight and obesity here.)


Lose Weight With Exercise?

Experts sometimes say that exercise is useless for losing weight  –  and, because it can increase muscle size, it may even increase weight.  The fact is that there is huge confusion over the benefits of exercise for weight loss, among both doctors and the general public.

Conflicting Expert Opinions

     Exercise:  Does not lead to weight loss

rsz_weightlifter-312074Guardian newspaper carried the headline:

“Exercise alone won’t cause weight loss, study shows” .  Also:  “Exercise is important for health, but study suggests that activity alone does not necessarily burn extra calories, and that diet should be the focus of weight loss”

The article suggests that exercise alone will not lead to weight loss, because our bodies reach a plateau. After this, more exercise may not necessarily lead to weight loss. UK health bodies and the WHO  advise 150 minutes of exercise a week.  This is under attack by some doctors as a means for achieving for weight loss. The Guardian quotes chief nutritionist, Dr Alison Tedstone, at Public Health England. She says that physical activity is good for physical and mental health. She says, however,  that evidence shows the most effective way of losing weight to be consuming less calories. A healthy balanced diet is the way to achieve this, she says.. Dr Asseem Malhotra of the UK National Obesity Forum is quoted as going further. He says that exercise has many health benefits, but losing weight is not one of them. He considers that combating obesity entails changing “the food environment”. That is, changing the type and amount of food we eat.

The benefit of exercise, or otherwise, for losing weight is controversial. The same Guardian report quotes Dr Frankie Phillips of the British Dietetic Association. She suggests that in the case of very very vigorous physical activity, the body might adapt to it, but the fact  is that most people don´t even manage moderate activity.

     Exercise:  Does lead to weight loss

Exercise to lose weight and feel good

Made it – before breakfast, too!

The UK Daily Mail newspaper, however, carried an article in May, 2016, headlined:

“Exercise not diet IS the key to weight loss: Physical activity is ‘magic bullet’ for pandemics of obesity and heart disease”.    Also:    “Regular exercise is closest we will come to ‘magic bullet’ to tackle the worldwide obesity and cardiovascular epidemics”

These conclusions come from professors at Florida Atlantic University and also from an editorial in the journal Cardiology.

The Institute of Economic Affairs in the UK published a study, The Fat Lie,  in August 2014, by Christopher Snowdon. This also concluded that the main factor causing the overweight/obesity problem in the UK, is lack of exercise. Not over-consumption of food and sugar. If this is true, it is likely to apply to many other countries.

Some other headlines include

“Lack of Exercise – Not Overeating – Is Making America Fat: Study”  –  Article by Nick Tate in NewsMaxHealth

“Lack of exercise, not diet, linked to rise in obesity, Stanford research shows ”                                             Becky Bach, Med.Stanford Edu
An examination of national health survey results suggests that inactivity, rather than higher calorie intake, could be driving the surge in obesity.

“Obesity: We’re not overeating, we’re under-exercising, study suggests”  –  Deborah Netburn, Reporter in the LA Times

Exercise More to Lose Weight? Or Not?

Confusion…..confusion…..and more confusion.  There are experts on the overweight and obesity problem round the world saying things which are diametrically opposed!

Usually, though, observing people who have lost weight suggests that it goes in tandem with an increase in exercise. The Mayo Clinic says that “being active” is an important part of any weight loss or maintenance programme.

Something that will seem obvious to most people is that both diet and exercise play a part in losing or controlling weight. It most certainly should not be a case of one or the other.

You are burning more calories while exercising

While exercising, you´re burning more calories than you otherwise would. Every time you reach an extra 3,500 of them  –  then that´s a pound weight gone! Some experts say that´s a simplistic view and it really doesn´t work that way. A calorie is not (necessarily) a calorie they say  –  it depends on what it´s a calorie of.  However, the majority of people find that if they cut the number of calories they consume, their weight falls. Whatever kind of calories they may be. Also, if they increase the number of calories they use by physical movement, then their weight will fall. Bingo!  It works for nearly everyone.

If you take up walking, say, then a one hour brisk 4 mph walk will use about 300 calories.  3,500 about every 11 days. The exercise should be part of a lose weight/get fit programme. You should not finish your walk and have a Coke or bar of chocolate! After reasonably vigorous exercise, plain water is delicious.

Exercise is terrific for so many things to enhance life!


womanWhile you are physically active you burn more calories than you do watching TV, but exercise has another benefit. A very big benefit. If you are trying to lose weight, you almost certainly started with calorie restriction  –  eating and drinking less.  It´s easy to start this, but after a while it can start to be a lot harder, as the initial enthusiasm for the project wears off. Exercise, or getting fitter, has a big positive effect on motivation. As you get fitter, you have more energy and enthusiasm and you are more likely to keep up your diet.  (Also, if you follow our suggestions for a Natural Diet,  it is much much easier to keep up than most of the standard well-known diets, many of which are plain daft.)

Benefits of Exercise

There are so many advantages to exercise apart from simply losing weight. They include the following:

  • As you get fitter you will feel much better about yourself psychologically
  • You are less likely to die early from an avoidable condition
  • “Fitter” will make you more optimistic, increase motivation
  • You will look much better  –  brighter-eyed, fit  –  you will enjoy life much more
  • Exercise usually improves the quality of night-time sleep
  • You will be much less likely to suffer from depression
  • You will feel sharper, more alert during the day  –  even in the afternoon, after lunch
  • Your bones and muscles will be stronger
  • Continued exercise will help you to maintain a healthy weight
  • You will feel more flexible, you´ll move more freely
  • As you get fitter, so you will increasingly find that you look forward to your exercise

What Kind of Exercise?

Aerobic activities, which make you breathe harder and your heart beat faster,  are best for getting fit and achieving the benefits listed above. They include walking or jogging, as well as sports like tennis or cycling, an the intensity can be easily adjusted as your fitness improves. Ideally, you should be slightly out of breath while you are doing them.

How Much Exercise?

The American government recommends, for adults (18 to 64 years),  two and a half hours a week of moderate aerobic exercise.  One and a quarter hours of vigorous exercise. They also recommend that the week´s exercise should be spread out over at least three days.  Further,  no exercise should be for less than 10 minutes. For children and adolescents (6 to 17 years), they recommend 60 minutes or more a day of exercise, most of which should be moderate or vigorous aerobic exercise. They should have vigorous exercise at least 3 days a week. They don´t make any special recommendations for young children (2 to 5 years) in terms of minutes. Such children should play actively during the day.

What Exercise?

Exercise to lose weight by taking fast walks

Walking can be gentle or hard exercise

Find a physical activity you enjoy, or could come to enjoy, and that you could engage in several times a week. If there is no sport that you like, other than darts, then plain simple walking is terrific exercise. Keep a diary, where you list the days on which you go out walking and the times. I have four different routes, to avoid boredom, but also of slightly different difficulties and lengths. Note the times you take on the walks, to give you a target to beat next time out. It also adds to the interest. Try to have some up-gradients on the walk. This helps in getting your pulse rate up. Make your standard walk at least an hour. Walk fast and then as you get fitter, you may find you want to jog for part of the time. Great!

Other Exercise

Walking, tennis, cycling or whatever other aerobic activity is the “formal”part of your new get fit/lose weight regime. Any exercise or sport that raises your pulse rate.

Other Small Physical Activities 

There are many other things you can do, which soon become so automatic that your don´t even notice them any more. Walk where you might normally use the car, if the distance is not more than, say, 15 minutes away. To the shops, to work, to lunch. Take the dog for walks, in which you join in the walking. Don´t simply throw a stick for the dog to retrieve, race it. That´ll be good for the dog too. If you have led a very inactive life physically, probably your dog has too.

At work, use the stairs (if you´re not on the ground floor!). As you get fitter, this will become almost second nature to you. You will find yourself taking the stairs when you get to work simply out of impatience. If you go out for lunch, walk if possible. Away on business,? Then make a point of getting in some walking as well. If there are any exercise facilities, such as a gym, at your work-place, then join.

If you think about it, you can easily come up with lots of ways to fit in bits of exercise. Five minutes here, ten there soon adds up. Above all, it becomes habit

NOTE:   We are not doctors! We have a doctor who advises us and checks the website for mistakes, but he can only talk in generalities, not specific problems that people may have. In the event of health problems or of concern over possible health complications as a consequence of anything we suggest on this website, you should see a competent doctor beforehand. (This applies to any health-related advice that you find anywhere on the internet, particularly if you have reason to be worried about your own health.)

 Images courtesy of:   pixabay